Lower Your Bills Even if Energy Prices Go Up in the New Year
If Xcel Energy gets its way, you may pay more for your electricity rates over the next four years. The company petitioned the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to raise rates by about 2 percent each year from 2018 to 2021. A decision isn’t expected until next year. But you can start thinking about how to save energy in your home now.
Here are 12 hacks to reduce your energy bill – no matter your budget
No-Cost Appliance Hacks
Even if you don’t have the newest Energy Star appliances, you can save on your electricity bill by following some simple no-cost hacks.
- Turn your refrigerator down. Refrigerators account for about 20% of your electricity use. Setting the thermometer at 35-38 degrees and the freezer at 0 degrees allows it to operate at the greatest efficiency. Be sure the gaskets around the doors are clean and seal tightly to prevent cooling loss.
Bonus tip: Think about what you need from the fridge before opening the door. This prevents warmer air from getting inside, which may kick on the compressor and use more energy.
- Use the warm or cold water setting on your washer. Switching from hot to warm for two loads per week can save nearly 500 pounds of carbon dioxide per year if you have an electric water heater.
- Make sure your dishwasher is full before running it. Also, be sure to turn off the drying cycle. Letting your dishes air dry can save about 20% on your dishwasher’s electricity use.
- Set your water heater to 120 degrees. That will help it operate more efficiently. Plus, every 10-degree reduction you make to the thermostat also reduces carbon dioxide emissions by about 600 pounds per year for an electric water heater.
- Keep your home cool and warm year-round by setting your thermostat to the right temperature: 68 degrees during the day and 55 at night in the winter; 78 degrees in the summer. Lowering the temperature by just 2 degrees in winter can save you about 6% of carbon dioxide emissions, too.
Small Investments That Pay Off
Investing even $10 or $20 can help you save big when it comes to your electrical costs. Here are a few small investments that can pay off:
- You waste energy when your air conditioner, swamp cooler, or furnace draws air through dirty filters. Replace your filters as recommended by the manufacturer. A clean filter can help you save about 5% of the energy used to power your air conditioner.
- Buy energy-efficient lighting (link to blog on light bulbs) when replacing the incandescent light bulbs in your home. Sure they cost more initially, but compact fluorescent build will help you save in the long-run. They use about a quarter of the energy of a normal bulb and last up to 12 times longer. If every household in America replaced one incandescent bulb with an energy-efficient one, we could save the same amount of energy a large nuclear power plant produces in a single year.
- Wrap your water heater in the warmth of an insulating jacket. This will help prevent heat loss from the unit. Plus, it can help you save more than 1,000 lb. of carbon dioxide each year for an electric water heater.
- Talk to your electrician about a home energy audit to determine where your home is poorly insulated. Then seal up any leaks your find around your windows and doors using caulk and weather stripping. This will help prevent the loss of heat and cold from your home, which means your heater or air conditioner will run less and saves you money.
Big Improvements, Big Savings
If you’re planning some major home improvements, consider these energy-saving investments. They may help you save money in the long-term:
- If your home energy audit indicates you’re losing heat through your walls and ceiling, consider adding insulation. This can help you save up to 30% on home heating bills and reduce your carbon dioxide emissions.
- Upgrade your windows, too, especially if you still have single panes with storms. Newer argon-filled double pane windows must meet minimum efficiency standards in most municipalities. Plus, they’ll help reduce heat and cold loss from your home.
- Plant trees to shade windows and doors from direct sunlight—especially for east and west facing openings. This will help keep your home cooler in the summer and helps the environment, too. Each tree absorbs about 25 lbs. of carbon dioxide each year.
Whether you are able to implement any or all of these energy-saving tricks, every little bit helps to take some of the bite out of your monthly utility bills. Plus, by making small changes now, you’ll be ready to save money—and the environment—even if your electrical rates go up in the new year.
APower provides comprehensive electrical inspections and energy audits for your Denver-area home or business. Call (720) 364-8616 to schedule an appointment today.